Promoted: Take great smartphone shots – with atmosphere: Masterclass #2

Make your pictures stand out from the crowd by shooting early, and shooting smart

Every city has its good side. Take London: it’s got landmarks coming out of its ears. But it’s all been photographed a million times. So, how can you make your shots a little bit more awe-inspiring than the masses?

Get up really, really early. The “golden hour” is that period during the morning (and evening) where the sun is low, and the light is softer and warmer than it is during the day. Shadows aren’t as dark as they are when the sun is higher, and highlights aren’t as stark – which opens the door to some lovely light effects.

First things first: do a recce. We scoped out this spot just by Westminster bridge. Nice picture, eh? But it’s nothing that people haven’t shot before. So, we checked the weather forecast, waited a few days for when we knew there’d be a cloudless sky, and then came back first-thing.

The proof is in the clock. And the lovely, warm light. And the absence of people. In a living, working city like London it’s rare to be able to get that 28 Days Later look… unless you get into Town before dawn.

Or before it, like the shot above. We had a hunch that the sun would peek out just over this building, so we waited a few minutes – and were really pleased with what happened…

Patterns and shapes appear during golden hour, too, so use them. Either that or you’ll have to try to find a 40-foot-tall man to help you out…

Eventually, of course, people saner than you get up and go to work – which is when the atmosphere changes. Use the bustle. Get down low and capture feet and wheels; get up high if you can and look down on the seething masses of people crossing the bridges.

And don’t be afraid to crop in on any happy little accidents…

And you don’t need to lug around masses of camera equipment. (Well, our video cameraman did, but we just left him to it.) The Huawei P8’s 13-megapixel camera can handle low light, bright light and really makes the most of the colours in the golden hour thanks to its RGBW colour sensor (the world’s first in a smartphone).

For more information on the Huawei P8 Android smartphone, see here.